Iron is a vital nutrient for your babies, and it surely would be most favorable if you feed them with iron-rich foods when it comes to solid foods.
Table of Contents
What is Iron?
Iron helps produce hemoglobin, the key protein in red blood cells that transfers oxygen to all distinct parts of the human body. Therefore, helping in brain development and good health.
A lengthy list of iron-rich foods typically includes (but is not limited to) iron-rich vegetables and fruits, high iron cereal, high iron nuts, and high iron drinks.
Benefits of Iron in the Body
Heme Iron – Animal Based Foods
Heme iron is found in non-vegetarian animal-based foods, including but not limited to poultry, seafood, and meat. They are consumed much easily by the body.
Non-Heme Iron is found in both plant and animal-based foods.
Non-heme iron is less easily absorbed by the body and is found in legumes, pulses, grains, nuts, etc.
It is one of the main reasons why vegetarians are more likely to experience iron deficiency. Combine iron-rich vegetarian foods with Vitamin C to ensure proper iron absorption.
Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron deficiency is not one problem. When your toddler gets to eat solid foods, there is a probability that they might not get enough iron. This can lead to an illness called anemia.
Anemia happens to be the situation when low iron levels lead to lower red blood cells in the body, causing problems with oxygen getting to key organs.
Iron Deficiency Symptoms
Iron deficiency can lead to more chain diseases and can cause symptoms to appear such as:
If your toddler is prone to low iron for a longer time, it can undoubtedly contribute to slower growth, delayed motor skill development, and a considerable increase in infections, as iron supports the immune system.
In any event, your baby would not want to consume anything. It’s because some modern studies have found that children who drank tea were likely to develop symptoms of anemia. Tea naturally contains tannin, which typically decreases iron availability and precludes consumption of sufficient iron-containing foods.
Iron Deficiency Causes
Infants and children at the highest risk of iron deficiency include:
Daily Iron Needs for Babies, Toddlers, and Kids
Needless to say, by now, you may have realized that a kid needs a sufficient amount of iron to maintain rapid and continuous growth. There are quite many cereal and food products specifically available with iron for growing kids.
|Recommended Amount of Iron a day
|0.27 (mg) milligrams per day
|11 mg per day
|7 mg per day
|10 mg per day
|8 mg per day
|15 mg per day
|11 mg per day
Iron Foods for Babies, Kids
There’s a wide variety of high-iron baby food. We have compiled a list below, which includes foods with iron in them.
Tip: You should encourage foods containing vitamin C with iron-rich foods to help absorb iron easily.
The iron-rich foods chart can send an overview of high-iron content foods. It can be noted that fortified cereal meets nearly 100% DV for an individual so your kid.
1. Whole Grains (Cereals, Amarnath, Quinoa…)
Several whole grains distribute a significant amount of iron to every individual consuming it. Whole Grains are a non-heme iron source and mostly include cereals as high iron foods.
Cereals as raw are not rich in iron, but cereals are enriched with iron for the purpose.
Among the top sources in oats comes a cup of cooked oats satisfying 19% of the RDI with 3.4mg of iron. On top of that, it contains a good amount of protein, magnesium, and folate. It is also a fiber-rich food.
More cereals containing around 3mg of iron or more include:
- Spelt (cooked) contains 3.2mg of iron per cup or 18% of the RDI. It contains around 5-6 grams of protein.
- Amarnath (pseudocereal) is a gluten-free ancient grain and contains about 5.2mg of iron per cup cooked. It can provide 29% of the RDI.
- Quinoa (pseudocereal) comes from the family of Amarnath, and so do its nutrients. It boasts 2.8mg of iron per cup.
2. Beans and Legumes (Lentils, Tofu, Chickpeas…)
Beans and Legumes are a great source of nutrients so iron. Scroll off the list below to get all the information you need.
The following list holds excellent sources of non-heme iron with 3mg or more from beans and legumes and, fortunately, peas.
- one cup of cooked beans
- one-half cup of tofu
With 2mg or more iron per serving, include:
- one and a half cup of chickpeas
- one-half cup of red kidney beans and lima beans
Other sources of iron from legumes with around 1mg or more iron per serving include:
- one-half cup of cooked split peas
3. Nuts and Seeds (Pumpkin, Sesame, Pine Nuts…)
Nuts like cashews, peanuts, and many others are so popular and often get eaten for their delicious yet nutritional value now; let’s get to know what and how many iron reserves they hold up to.
With nutritional iron value holding near or more than 2mg per serving, below are some nuts and seeds:
- 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds
- 1 ounce of sesame seeds or squash seeds
The following seeds or nuts contain more than or equal to 1mg of iron per serving.
- 1 ounce of peanuts, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios
- 1 ounce of roasted almonds, roasted cashews, or sunflower seeds
4. Fruits (Dried, Olives, Pomegranate…)
Fruits are a gift from plants and trees. Due to its gifted nature, every fruit is filled with loads of varying nutrients and antioxidants.
It will benefit anemia patients to consume bananas, pomegranates, and fruits like apples due to their high vitamin C content.
Following are some high iron fruits for pink cheeks:
- 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of olives contain 3.3mg of iron or 18% of the RDI.
- A cup of mulberries offers 2.6mg of iron which contributes to 14% of the RDI.
4.1 Dried Fruits
The following list of dry fruits offers near or more than 2mg of iron per serving.
- One cup of dried apricots
- 1 ounce of cashews holds 2.2mg of iron or 11% of RDI.
- 3.5 ounces or 100 grams of dry figs offer 2.03mg of iron or 8% of RDI.
Near 1mg of non-heme iron is offered by the following dried fruits:
- A quarter cup of raisins has about 1 mg of iron.
- 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of fox nuts provide 1.4mg of iron.
5. Vegetables (Spinach, Broccoli…)
Vegetables are used in most vegetarian foods and promote health and wellness. Dark Greens are mostly high in iron than other vegetables.
While vegetables contain non-heme iron, which is more difficult to absorb, they are also high in vitamin C, which aids iron absorption (6).
- Spinach powers nearly 4mg of iron per cup cooked.
- White Button Mushrooms are edible fungus with 2.7mg of iron or 15% of the RDI.
Vegetables providing nearly or more than 1mg of iron include:
- 3.5 ounces of broccoli
- 3.5 ounces of sweet potatoes
6. Meats, Poultry and Fish
Following foods are the highest in iron, with most iron contribution from meats and poultry (5).
Foods with heme iron of 6mg or more include:
- 3 ounces of beef or other organ meats
- Shellfish (oysters) per 3oz serving.
- 3 ounces of mussels
Good sources of heme iron with nearly 3mg or more:
- One cup (160g) of cooked, enriched egg noodles
- 3 ounces of cooked beef
- 3 ounces of canned sardines, canned in oil
7. BONUS High Iron foods
Some foods are high in iron as well as delicious in flavor and smell good too. For example, your kid can enjoy dark chocolate, and it is also rich in nutrients more than any chocolate. It is rich in fiber.
Dark chocolate, particularly containing cocoa powder, holds significantly more nutrients than its milk chocolate counterpart.
A bar of dark chocolate (100g) with cocoa content between 70-85% contains 67% of the RDI for iron with 12mg. Similarly, an ounce (28g) of dark chocolate contains 3.3mg of iron, taking RDI to 19% (1, 2).
Coconut milk can be your next alternative for cow, buffalo, or goat milk (possibly any milk you consume up to today). Despite its high-fat content, it contains various vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, copper, and manganese.
- 100 grams of coconut milk contains 9% of the RDI or 1.6mg.
- A cup (240g) of coconut milk contains 22% of the RDI.
- An ounce of coconut milk contains 3% of the RDI.
Dried thyme is a popular culinary herb used in various diseases. It is a powerhouse of iron, manganese, copper, and other functional nutrients (3).
- One ounce of dried thyme contains a massive 35mg of iron or 195% > RDI.
- Similarly, 100g of dried thyme holds 123mg of iron or 687% > RDI.
- An ounce of dried thyme is also packed with 11g of dietary fiber or 39% of DV.
- It is recommended to not overtake thyme and stick to one teaspoon of dried thyme offering 1.7mg of iron or 10% of DV.
Blackstrap molasses is a sweetener made from refining sugarcane or sugar beets into sugar and is often considered healthier than table sugar.
- 1 serving of blackstrap molasses – 1tbsp provides 5% of iron (4). It is recommended to take not more than 1-2tbsp of molasses per day for iron due to its high sugar content.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Main Idea
Iron is surely a vital nutrient for our body. You can get the mineral from many plants or animal foods.
The foods above contain many other nutrients and beneficial compounds and are a good source of iron.
As a result, including them in your diet will not only help you fulfill your iron needs but will also definitely improve your overall health.